Transforming Lives

Every day, all over the world, USAID brings peace to those who endure violence, health to those who struggle with sickness, and prosperity to those who live in poverty. It is these individuals — these uncounted thousands of lives — that are the true measure of USAID’s successes and the true face of USAID's programs.

Shaymaa’s shy smile grows into a grin when she shows her father the artwork she brought home from school. Her scrapbook is a collection of brightly colored images from her eight-year-old world – her school, her teacher, her best friend, the family portrait.

Shaymaa is one of 182 children in Komombo in Egypt’s Aswan Governorate receiving scholarships through the local Community Education Committee, which covers annual tuition, two uniforms, shoes, stationery, and a school bag.

It has been said that no one fights like families, but this need not be the case. To promote family stability, Egypt passed a law providing for mediation in family disputes. To properly implement the law, the Ministry of Justice requested USAID to provide training for mediation staff and infrastructure improvements at courts where mediations are held.

Until recently, the Egyptian judiciary was strictly a male preserve. In 2003, with the direct appointment of the first female judge, Dr. Tahani El Gebali, to the constitutional court, Egypt had only one female out of approximately 9,300 judges.

Recognizing the need to diversify the judiciary, USAID focused on integrating women as part of its efforts to improve the efficiency and transparency of Egypt’s civil and commercial courts.

Educating schoolchildren about environmental issues is challenging but essential in Shoubra El Kheima, a densely populated suburb of Cairo. The area has long suffered from severe pollution due to nearby industries, including metal smelters that emit hazardous materials such as lead.

The community of Shoubra El Kheima, north of Cairo, suffers from severe lead pollution generated by industries in the area. What is just as alarming is that many residents were unaware of the problem’s severity and of the simple actions they could take to protect themselves.

A USAID project aimed at remediating polluted sites began a communications strategy to educate and enable key groups in the communitiy to spread the word about lead. The project reached out to influential community members so that they could become catalysts for action.

Due to the wealth of opportunities that access to the Internet and new technologies presents for both individuals and communities, USAID-funded Afghan Media Development Project (AMDEP) implemented by Internews, has launched a network of four Anaar Multimedia Centers in Herat, Mazar-e-Sharif, Jalalabad and Kandahar. The centers offer Afghans access to the Internet and provide training in new media skills in an effort to increase connectivity, build civil society networks, and enable citizens’ creative self-expression.

On the night of October 25th, 2011 , Shakila Mohammad was admitted to Malalai Maternity Hospital already in labor.  The next morning, she delivered a 3.6 kg female baby but the baby was not crying and had no response to drying or stimulation.  Dr. Najmussama Shifajo suctioned the baby’s mouth and nose, and then began to resuscitate her with a bag and mask.  Fortunately, the baby started breathing within the second minute of ventilation, and then cried aloud.

Farid and his classmates have just begun the 2012 school year, full of hope for the future and thoughts of protecting the past. In January, Farid was just one of 330 perspective students, including 35 female candidates, who applied for 68 positions at the Institute for Afghan Arts & Architecture.

Years of erosion had turned the entrance to Barakzo village, in the southern Afghan province of Kandahar, into a swampy quagmire. An adjacent canal had expanded its banks until the road was no longer accessible to large produce trucks from the nearby Panjwayi District markets. With the construction of a115-meter erosion protection wall funded by USAID, large trucks now have no trouble getting out to area farmers, and a greater volume of irrigation water is reaching local farms. The project provided two months of short-term employment to more than 50 village laborers.

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Last updated: January 12, 2015